NASA’s laser that will improve transmissions

The image quality of the next moon landing will be impressive. Not only that, but also the data rate. And thanks to what or who? It’s NASA’s laser that will improve the transmissions. The mission leaves from Cape Canaveral (Florida). It will revolutionize communications in space.

NASA laser that will improve transmissions begins testing.
NASA laser that will improve transmissions begins testing.

Surprising speed

Laser technology instead of the usual radio frequency systems. That’s the goal. The objective? To transmit data ten to a hundred times faster to Earth.

The experiment is called the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration ( LCRD). It involves the use of infrared lasers. It will send data to Earth at 1.2 gigabits per second (Gbps). It will do so from a geosynchronous orbit at 35,000 km.

At this speed and distance, a movie could be downloaded in less than a minute. Radio waves can relay 10 photos in one minute. But laser technology will be able to relay 100.

“To transmit a complete map of Mars to another point would take three months now. With laser technology, all that information would be there in a little over a week.” Says Christian Rivera, a software developer at NASA.

The quality of the images transmitted from the Moon would be far superior with this technology.
The quality of images transmitted from the Moon would be far superior with this technology.

Optimized image

It’s not just a matter of speed. The definition of the images will also be vastly improved. “We will be able to record videos in very high resolution. It has great scientific value,” says Rivera. The emission is in infrared, invisible to the human eye. No one will see the laser.

“Optical communications are not going to replace radio frequency. It has its own benefits,” says the expert. Atmospheric disturbances can interfere with laser signals. “The idea is to use this technology together. For long distances and large volumes of data, laser communication is more suitable. For short distances, radio frequency,” says Rivera.

The NASA laser that will improve transmissions will be tested for approximately two years. In this way, the technology will be perfected.

“Laser technology is going to take us much further. We want to explore space more and more. Thanks to this we will be able to know more quickly and faithfully what lies beyond,” says Rivera.

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